New York City neighborhoods are shaped by a strange patchwork of zoning designed for ideal properties in convenient locations. But thousands of lots don’t fit into a perfect, rectangular mold. They’re irregularly shaped, up against the railroad tracks, in a flood zone, or cross between two different zoning districts. That last situation is what brought an Astoria developer to the City Planning Commission on Monday.
Great Neck-based owner George Elliott hopes to build a five-story apartment building at 30-70 38th Street, between 30th and 31st avenues. But his development site is split between two zoning districts, each of which has a different height limit. He wants his whole site rezoned under higher-density of the two, R6B, which allows a fifty foot height limit. The lower-density zoning is suburban-style, where new buildings can only reach up to 33 feet tall and need to have plenty of parking.
If the city approves the rezoning, the developer will build a five-story, 26-unit building. They’d be spread across 27,450 square feet of residential space, and the average unit would measure 1,055 square feet. The development would also have a 13-car garage in the cellar.
Without the rezoning, Elliot will build a slightly smaller project with six fewer apartments.
Since the developer only wants to shift the current zoning boundaries, he seems to think he can get a rezoning without including any affordable units. But the City Council just approved Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, which requires any builder who wants a private rezoning to rent at least a quarter of their new apartments at below-market rates. The project still has to make its way through the public approval process, and the local community board or borough president – both of whom have to approve the development – might demand some affordable units.
The design, from T.F. Cusanelli and Filletti Architects, is pretty much what you’d expect for this part of Queens. We’re not thrilled that it breaks the street wall – extending a bit futher out than its neighbors – but the landscaping and balconies are nice touches. The rendering comes from the project’s zoning documents, which were posted online over the weekend.
Subscribe to the YIMBY newsletter for weekly updates on New York’s top projects